BIO: James A. Gollata is Director of the Library Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Richland. He is also a drummer, a dreamer, an essayist, a writer of short stories, a book warrior and a literary provocateur. And he is a poet. Having written and published many haiku over the years, he has recently gone back to longer, but not much longer, forms of poetry. His most recurring themes are memory, relationships, and the ubiquity of absurdity. He believes that everything is a matter of belief, humor is paramount, and life is to be interpreted aesthetically. His poetry has been published in Voice of the River Valley, Howling Dog, 100 Words, Panassus Literary Journal (several issues), Moody Street Irregulars, Spoon River Quarterly, and several years of Wisconsin Poets' Calendars.


Who was that dark-haired
Diminutive guide
Who led us down alley and aisle?

We trailed her angelic white cape as
We would a beacon, Followed
Her every gesture.

What was the name of that
Sainte of virginal memory
Who gave her finger to God?

The digit we saw in the glass case
In that chapel in Roma, Forever
Thumbing its way to heaven.

Remember that beautiful
Gypsy woman who sat on the steps
Outside the church?

The one who held her swaddled infant
In postpartum pretense, As she
Looked up, her hand held out to us

The voice that she used to call
For alms, The most mournful sound
That anyone could ever bear.

—James A. Gollata